This book, Spontaneous Shades was inspired by Robert Sheppard’s poem Synovial Joints.
The poem is from of a series where Robert is writing-through some of Milton's sonnets. This one references Milton's Sonnet 13 to Henry Lawes, the court composer. Robert’s poem is dedicated to Steve Coleman and his album Synovial Joints. The colored images of the book are spontaneous mark making responses to Coleman’s music. The style of the black lettering used for the development of the white pages was originally created for the words of the logo for my exhibition in 2918 “VISUAL POETRY: A LYRICAL TWIST,” at the Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Public Library. The letters of the entire alphabet have been designed just for use in this book. Spontaneous Shades is the fourth visual interpretation book of the poem, Synovial Joints.
Born in 1955, Sheppard was educated at the University of East Anglia, where he completed a PhD on Roy Fisher and Lee Harwood. He is at the forefront of the movement sometimes called "linguistically innovative poetry.” Sheppard's magnum opus is his long-running work "Twentieth Century Blues". This was composed over many years, and published piece-meal before Salt Publishing brought out the complete work in 2008. "Hymns to the God in which My Typewriter Believes", published in 2006, illustrates Sheppard's view of poetry as one art among many, as it alludes to and builds on other art forms. Sheppard's sonnet sequence, "Warrant Error" was published by Shearsman Books in 2009. From 1996 to 2017 he was Professor of Poetry and Poetics and Programme Leader of the MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. He retired from teaching on August 31, 2017.
Synovial Joints: for Steve Coleman by Robert Sheppard
how to scan camouflage orchestrations as
happiest lines heard in foreground middleground
background relationships with praise for
underlying structures of spontaneous shades
we know very little just notes and accents
and well-measured tempests
he looked into this world outside of music he wooed
by singing I Hear People in angular momentum
how to span plasma, gas, liquid and solid so poems
will lend their wings alter the flow the propulsion
that drives and how things drift in milder shades
with that smooth air to reveal its novel tonal qualia
so the Phoebus Choir will practise things
that he’s never heard before
(Milton: Sonnet XIII)